Practicing Heresy In An Orthodox Manner

I am all for orthodoxy. It is an equal personal favourite with heresy.

I like to give each of these a run in the park on alternate Wednesdays when the weather is fine, but I’m careful to take only one out of its cage at a time. I made the mistake the first day of putting them both on leads and trying to manage the pair together.

It was a madhouse. They chased each other around snapping and snarling and it was all we could do to untangle our legs and keep them from each other’s throats. It took a bucket of cold water to separate the combatants.

I was reminded of this by a recent Facebook posting recalling a French legend about a faithful dog that was martyred and how a shrine was set up to the body. It attracted peasant worship, which in turn attracted church disapproval and official punishment. There is enough pathos, morality, outrage, superstition, and hearsay in the story to wash a hog.

Mind you, it does explain some of the attitudes of various French republics at times to both organised and dis-organised religion. And what would Tom Paine have said about it all…?*

*  ” Age Of Reason ” is what he said…

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Riding The Horse – Part Six – The Collector’s Edition

If anyone ever meets you on the road and tells you that the only reason they collect something – whether it be stamps, coins, or matchbook covers – is for the investment value of them, you must treat them like Buddha. You must kill them. Because they are either telling you the truth or a lie…and neither one is acceptable.

The collection urge is a basic part of the human psyche – and there are studies that show it to be something that other animals do as well. Unfortunately there have not been enough funded studies employing perpetual students that have concentrated upon the animal part of it – we still do not know why crows and magpies collect junk bonds. But as far as people go, everyone has a latent collector inside them.

The classical collections involve art, antiquities, coins, postage stamps, china and porcelain, and silver and gold objects. These have an intrinsic value in themselves  – with the possible exception of outdated postage stamps – and can be turned into a current in the income stream of the collector. Of course most turn out to be money sinks, but that is the nature of the con game.

The actual objects to be collected is immaterial – it is the amassing of a group of them that forms the gratification. If they can be supported by specialist shops, publications, scholarly works, fairs, and auctions…so much the better. Sometimes they run afoul of laws, as in the collection of weapons and firearms, but that’s never stopped any keen enthusiast that I’ve ever met. The man with the working anti-tank gun is ample evidence of this. In any case no real collector lets anything – money, law, or good sense – stand in his way. The only irksome part for him may be the necessity to keep the collection hidden.

Can there be too many things in a collection? Not according to the collectors. Can the collection be too wide in scope? Again, no. Can it be too narrow? Well, I met a proud collector who concentrated his efforts upon a toy plastic boat that was produced as a promotional giveaway in the 80’s and he has found enough variants in it to base his entire happiness upon. All the items look the same until he tells you the minute history of them and lets you examine them carefully with a magnifying glass. At that point you wish you were a gun collector…

Can the objets de collection be too expensive? Well they can be so for the average person, and that for a number of reasons, but for the unlimited budget person, nothing is too dear. They are the explorers after El Dorado that poison the land for all the rest – they elevate prices and depress common sense in any field they enter. And yet. And yet…

Remember our first paragraph. In every collector’s heart is a small section that really does want their beloved collection of dried goat udders to be the secret desire of a fabulously-wealthy sheik…who will pay an enormous price for them. This small portion of the heart is known as the Jesse James valve, and it flutters in the presence of loose money. 

Collectors are easy meat for the purveyors of dreck – see the back of any woman’s magazine for the porcelain figures of the Royal Plumbers Of Tonga at only $ 256 each in a signed edition. They are also the natural fodder for makers of collection cases, display shelves, storage books, and fanciful catalogues. They can be seen at all sorts of trade shows, secondhand fairs, and repulsive little shops cruising for the bargains. The shopkeepers know ‘em in a minute and it is all they can do from salivating visibly.

Is there any harm in being a collector? No, if you do not go so far down the rabbit hole that you find the subject has collected you. This is the sad fate of several of the gun collectors I know who’ve sacrificed money, property, and good sense to serve their masters…the guns. It is not possible to bring them to their senses, but they are mostly harmless. The fate of many collectors is to find that their friends and family avoid them – at least when they start to talk about The Collection.

The Spam Queue

This column attracts spam. As do all the others I write. So, I would imagine, would a note left in a bottle for the milkman – given the ever-reaching greed of internet pests.

Fortunately there is a program that drives away most of this traffic, putting it into a bin for me to empty periodically. I have learned to give the contents only the most cursory glance before flushing it. Once, within a space of a decade, there may be a genuine message leaking into the cesspool. More often the seepage is the other way. I am prepared to lose one real comment amongst the dross.

Like the Indian scam phone callers, I am at a loss to think that anyone could ever be interested enough in these fraudulent pests to ever respond to them…and I imagine that it would only spark a greater onslaught. Yet, the fact remains that they keep coming. This suggests some profit from it for the criminals and therefore some engagement by the unwary. If there is a trail of anything, it will be a trail of money and stupidity.

It is tempting to go on the hike as well. If others can pick an occasional drachma from the pockets of the unwary, surely I can put my hand in there too. I have been able to persuade people to all sorts of folly in the past, and I hope my skills are still with me. It’s just thinking how to do it…

Will they fall for sending me money directly? That’s been tried by everyone from Nigeria to Nunawading, and unless you have  dewy-eyed kittens marching on Parliament House, you are unlikely to access the right level of gullibility. I can be dewy-eyed but kitten suits are hot and itchy.

I could threaten. If they are frightened of the Immigration Department there is a chance that they’ll pay to avoid deportation. If the Taxation Department is their nightmare I can put on my best Jobsworth manner and impose fines left, right, and center. But I have no need of iTunes cards or anything else that might be duped out of them. It’d have to be cash or nothing, and that leaves the operational problem of collecting it. I don’t mind the victims being dumb, but I don’t want to join them.

Perhaps cajoling would work. I could try to shame them for eating meat, or vegetables, or sugar, or really anything…with the absolute certainty that they will feel guilty about something. It’s just finding out that secret shame and whacking it with a mallet.

I wish I was better at begging in rags. I’ve got the rags, all right, courtesy of a lifetime of never cleaning the wardrobe out, but the thought of panhandling in shopping centres leaves me cold. I don’t like the places all that much when I’ve got money, so doing the urban poor act would be even worse.  I suppose I could send out invitations for people to visit me here at home and I could do it in the lounge room, but somehow it doesn’t sound all that promising.

 

Sex And the SIngle Maniac

Enough has already been written about sex and marriage, before, during, instead of, and despite. Also love, which has more variations still – and some of them far less appetising. All these stories have been put out as healthy exercises for normal people – it is nowtime to formulate a workable sex code for maniacs.

The very words ” Sex Maniac ” have gotten a bad name of late, as Hollywood producers and religious figures are hosed off and hauled off to the slammer. In most cases this results in money for lawyers, which suggests that sin is gold that can be hydraulicked off the prominent like gravel off a hillside. I wonder if there are robbers who rifle legal sluice boxes…? And how do the rightful owners of the proceeds of public virtue know when to pull up the cleats and pan the results?

But back to the subject. To be a maniac you must be manic – a word that apparently means wild and frantically busy. As we are always being urged to get busy at work or school and to hurry up with everything we do, it’s hard to see how this suddenly becomes wrong. Perhaps it is the sex part that sours it. Perhaps the critics are really trying to make us slow down…which begs the question why. For their enjoyment…or to let them get a closer look…or to give time for the lawyers to arrive?

Would we do better to substitute other words for “sex” ? Not euphemisms like ” rumpy pumpy” or ” relations ” or any of that verbal footling. No, I mean substitute things like ” tennis” or ” woodworking ” for ” sex “. The thought of a tennis maniac or a woodworking maniac is actually pretty terrifying; one armed with a racket and the other with a set of sharp wood chisels. The poor old sex maniac is just hobbling along with their pants down around their knees while the other two are wading through a crowd striking right and left.

Of course one could always do the clever thing and change the word “maniac ” to “addict “, then call in the therapists and talk-show hosts. Far easier to travel the publicity round and appear in the supermarket tabloids as an addict than a maniac. And as soon as you beat the rap you can go for rest cures in resorts.

Who knows, you might meet someone nice…

The BGA Useful Idiot Bureau

I am starting to organise a Useful Idiot Bureau. I intend to register people who are gullible enough to fall for anything and to lease them out as mobile crowds for whomever can pay.

I’ll be offering them to the political parties who cannot win a workable majority in parliament and to people who wish to make a name for themselves without actually doing anything useful. Futility is a lonely thing and the comfort of bus loads of school children and disgruntled pensioners can ease the pain. Neither group need receive any benefit past a day off school or a nice afternoon’s whinge out in the sun.

The fees to be paid for these crowds are still a matter for debate – professional actors cost a lot of money and amateur ones cost a lot of anxiety. A formula that draws the sheep in without having to feed them is what is required, and so far the Guild doesn’t have the right mix. But we are working on it. We’re going to field a Save-The-Cockroach mass day of action later in the year and by then we should have the money right. Not that you’ll see any of it, mind…

The chief worry for the Guild department responsible for these demonstrations will be to prevent actual Fellow Travellers from showing up and taking over. We have a limited budget and it doesn’t generally stretch to pitchforks and torches.

Self Axtualisation For Lumberjacks

Are you self-actualised? Are you authentic? Do you have any idea what I’m saying here?

If you do, please write back because I have no idea myself.

The self-actualisation movement seems to be concerned with two things:

  1. Pre-conceiving the paradigmical existentialism of cultural shift-zeit as is pertains to the greater world-mind.
  2. Getting you to pay $ 39.95 to the author.

I have managed the first part but am struggling with the second. It is to this end I address my readers – please send $ 39.95 so that I can tell the other writers to go and self actualise themselves sideways.

I’m not against new philosophy as such. Or per se. Or even ipso facto. Some of my facts are as ipso as you could want, and that’s before you peel them. But I am running out of patience with the associate professors of midwestern cardboard colleges who try to sell books of modern wisdom when there isn’t all that much of it between the covers. I can do big words and small thoughts myself here at home for free.

At one time I was not concerned with self-actualisation at all. I concentrated on food, drink, girls, and passing my university courses so that I could go out and gather money. I would have been happy with self-possibility, probability, or culpability. If I had been asked whether I was actual, I could only have proved it by kicking the questioner. I’m sorry now that I didn’t take the opportunity while my legs were good.

As for actualising myself now, I’m happy to do it if there is a seniors discount, or if I can do it after my nap. And none of that getting up at 4:30 in the morning with the full bladder – that kind of actuality is for the birds.

 

The Children’s Crusade

The Backstabbers Guild Of Australia is on a Crusade. Not a religious one, of course. That sort of thing is hardly our field of endeavour – we are on a quest to find a good use for schoolchildren.

Now, of course there are plenty of people who have already found a use for them -as students, household drudges, scapegoats, industrial slaves, objects of adoration, etc, etc. We are looking more for a way to use them as generators of money. Little pieces of bait, as it were, to attract a steady income.

Drawing upon the history of Children’s Crusades – Nicholas of Köln and Stephen of Cloyes in particular – we are conscious of the need to provide a plausible reason to lure the children way from their parents and homes. Then we need to have a place to send them, and a mechanism to reduce their numbers to a manageable and saleable few at the end of the process. Of course we will not be adverse to auctioning them off in batches along the way – as dewy-eyed innocents or useful idiots most likely. It will be a good thing if it can be done before they start to cost too much in food or transportation.

It’s been suggested by some that this is reprehensible – that using the young and foolish to mask political agendas of the old and cynical is just a vile practice. Possibly, but think of it in this way; if they are roaming the downtown streets looking for trouble, at least they are not at home causing it. And that’ll keep ’em off the lawn.